Physical Therapist Terminating Employment

As the sole Physical Therapist in private practice (owned by a

corporation), is there a minimum amount of time I need to provide when

giving notice regarding termination of employment in the State of

California? There is no preexisting contract.



One thought on “Physical Therapist Terminating Employment

  1. Hello, jenc5, and thank you for your question!

    May I first advise you to seek the learned counsel of an attorney in

    California that specifically deals with employment issues for health

    care professionals? Perhaps the California Physical Therapy

    Association, http://www.ccapta.org/ , can refer you to someone with

    that specific expertise. Indeed, the referral may be a benefit of a

    membership that you may have with a professional association and

    either had for a reduced rate or (I hope) free!

    With the disclaimer said, I believe that you have no legal obligation

    to give notice of resignation.

    FIRST, the California Labor Code, Section 2922, provides that “[a]n

    employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at the will of

    either party on notice to the other.” Even in cases where there is a

    contract (and I understand that you are not bound by a contract),

    Section 2925 provides that “employment for a specified term may be

    terminated by the employee at any time in case of any willful or

    permanent breach of the obligations of his employer to him as an

    employee.”

    Where the employee is an officer of the corporation, the California

    Corporations Code, Section 312(b) provides that an “officer may resign

    at any time upon written notice to the corporation without prejudice

    to the rights, if any, of the corporation under any contract to which

    the officer is a party.”

    The reasonable conclusion reached by reviewing the above statutes

    would be that the “at-will employee” status of your situation permits

    you to terminate your employment at any time “ON NOTICE” to the

    employer. It does not specify the form of the notice, but obviously a

    written notice would be preferable. Note that corporate officers are

    required to give written notice.

    You can find the California Codes at

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html

    Typically employers find themselves in a position arguing the opposite

    theory that they have not created any employment contract, either

    implied or express. It would be an unusual case indeed where a

    corporation could then turn that shield into a sword around and argue

    against you that an implied employment contract existed binding you to

    the corporation for some term. Certainly, Section 2922 would serve as

    an excellent shield if the employer would attempt such a tack.

    SECOND, I find no provision in either the California Business and

    Professions Code or the Health and Safety Code requiring any notice as

    part of the professional licensure statutes of any other provision

    concerning physical therapists.

    THIRD, as a matter of common law Torts, I cannot imagine that an

    action by a patient against you could be brought if that patient were

    “left hanging” by a possible sudden resignation. A Tort action would

    most probably be one of negligence, which requires the existence of a

    duty – I believe that most legal professionals would agree that no

    such duty exists between you and your patients as relates to your

    continued employment. On the other hand, some duty may exist between

    the patient and the corporation as relates to a continued course of

    treatment, but even that proposition would be very thin indeed.

    HOWEVER, and as I am sure you recognize, your professional standards,

    including those promulgated by the state of California, your

    professional organizations, and most importantly those of your own, no

    doubt include a commitment to the well-being of your patients and

    clients. Perhaps a timely notice to your employer of your pending

    resignation including a reasonable period of notice (two weeks?) might

    permit the care of your clients to go uninterrupted.

    REMEMBER that there are many restrictions in the law that limit ones

    ability to take customers with them to their new place of employment,

    regardless of whether they may or may not have a non-compete agreement

    in place. If you were to consider either or both asking current

    clients to follow you to a new practice, or to go into direct

    competition with your current employer, extreme caution must be

    exercised and legal assistance sought before-hand on that specific

    issue.

    As a summary, you have no duty under the law, as far as I can

    determine, to give notice to your current employer. Prudence may

    suggest that a reasonable amount of notice to the employer should be

    given.

    Best of luck if you do decide to move on!! Again, thanks for visiting

    Google Answers.

    Weisstho-ga

    Search Terms Used:

    ://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&q=California+%22physical+Therapists%22+association

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html

    Westlaw search: California and “Implied Contract” and Employment

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